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Easy Ways To Earn Extra Money

making extra money


I’ve found my ways to make extra money through rental property and blogging, but there are tons more opportunities out there for people looking to make extra income. If you have a skill or hobby, there is a good chance you can get paid to do it. Even if you have little imagination and no time, there are easy ways to earn extra money.

Rent A Room In Your House

This might be the easiest way to earn extra money without very much work. You do have to give up some privacy, but taking on a renter is income from day one. Personally, I would not want a random person living in my home while my daughter is young, but we would consider it once we’re empty nesters. There are ways to find a good tenant if you don’t want to advertise to the general public.

You can offer a room to student interns or residents. When I was in my last year of optometry school, students had to do three month rotations in different cities throughout the year. It was almost impossible to find housing unless you had the money to live in a hotel or had relatives in the area. Luckily on one rotation, I found a lady who rented out bedrooms in her basement, exclusively to students. I believe it was something like $300 a month. I had my own room but shared a bathroom and kitchen with two other interns. I guess you could get a party person, but for the most part, medical students are pretty focused on their training and won’t even be home most of the time.

Another option is Americorps volunteers who have their housing costs covered through the program. I believe the ones in our area get $200 a month to use for rent. Student teachers, graduate students, or seasonal employees are also in need of a short term place to live. These renters might not be able to do a traditional lease, which  means quick cash with the promise that they will be moving on soon, a plus if renting turns out not to be your cup of tea!

Haul Trash To The Dump

If you have access to a truck or trailer and don’t mind bad smells, you can make serious money hauling other people’s stuff to the dump. I don’t mean cleaning out a home belonging to a hoarder but simply taking away things that are too big or heavy for the garbage man. You’d have to charge enough to cover landfill fees, gas, plus profit, but people will gladly pay to get rid of stuff they don’t need.

In our first home, we had to replace a sliding glass door and were left with the broken one. At the time, we didn’t have a truck and paid $50 for someone to haul it away. I think there are lots of opportunities for this type work, especially when people are moving or when an older person passes away or has to move into assisted living.

Sell Your Skill To A Property Management Company

This one might not be easy because it requires some labor, but if you are skilled in any sort of property upkeep or repair, try offering your service to a property management company. This way you aren’t out hustling for clients or haggling for bids. You set your price per hour and take the jobs that work for your schedule.

Some management companies handle hundreds of properties. They are always in need of good, reliable cleaners, painters, repair people, and landscapers. Even if you just want to mow yards or clean carpets, there is plenty of work available, and you can probably do it after work or on the weekends so as not to interfere with a regular job. All it takes is one or two good projects to produce word of mouth referrals. Trust me, reliable service people are few and far between, so there is huge potential for extra income if you do quality work.

Teach A Class

I’m not talking about Algebra or Physics (unless that’s your forte!) but things like exercise, yoga, music, cake decorating,  Quickbooks, anything you’re good at. Local non-profits, gyms, libraries, after school programs, or community colleges are always looking for qualified instructors.

I’ve been asked to teach medical terminology at the community college, and I know people who teach everything from horseback riding to zumba. If you are good at it, there is probably a way to get paid by teaching it to someone else.

Take a Seasonal Job

Because Jim has always worked in education, I know tons of teachers who take summer jobs to supplement their income. We live close to a Mesa Verde, so many of them work for the National Parks Service. I also know teachers who supervise swim lessons, pick up shifts at garden centers, or teach summer school. Even if you don’t get the summer off, with longer days and nicer weather, there are opportunities for regular 9-5 workers to take seasonal work to earn extra money.

Trade Services

While we all like to get paid, sometimes trading services is a great way to save money. It sounds awful, but trading children is a good example. I often take other kids to school or keep them on my days off so that I can call on other parents to pick my kid up when I have to work. That way none of us has to pay extra for child care.

If you like to work out, maybe you could teach a class in order to get a free gym membership.  Savvy techies or social media butterflies could offer to design a website or do marketing for a particular business in exchange for products or services. When I used to own my practice, I almost never had anyone turn me down when I asked if they would like to barter. It’s usually a win win for both parties.

Things To Remember About Extra Income

While there really is no negative with earning extra income, if you don’t plan it could bite you in the butt come tax time. Always withhold about 30% of your extra income for taxes. Also, make sure side income doesn’t cost money in the form of  losing an insurance subsidy or tax credit. If you make tons of money, that’s not a big deal because the extra income compensates for any loss in benefits, but if you make just enough to bump you into a higher bracket, it’s a hard call.

With any money from a regular job or side income, you really should pay close attention to what comes in and what goes out. Using a site like Personal Capital makes it really easy to keep track. You can always defer some of your income into an IRA or HSA if eligible. That way you can watch your extra money grow instead of wondering what you spent it on.

What skills have you turned into extra income? What’s the weirdest service you’ve ever seen someone get paid for?


Image: Flickr/401kcalculator.org

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I’m a big fan of trading services. We do this with dog sitting and it’s a wonderful system. The dogs are happier, the humans are happier, and no one has to pay anything! It has truly been a boon for us–we would’ve spent quite a bit to board Frugal Hound over the years if we hadn’t been able to take advantage of swapping dogs. Plus, it’s fun for us to babysit other dogs!

    • Dog swapping is right up there with child swapping. We usually trade dogs with our neighbors if one of us is out of town. Works out great.

  2. Ya i have four jobs right now. My main job is an office assistant at a tax company and then my side jobs r delivering flyers, phone checks for the flyer company and newspaper delivery. It does not make much but that extra $140 a month adds up and def helps in paying bills. Zero expenses too.do not need to pay gas for a car for my side jobs. Now that my job contract is up at my tax job, i am glad i had a few side jobs to keep me afloat financially and emotionally as been fully unemployed can make someone quite depressed. Ppl usually snort when i tell them to try my side jobs cuz it earns little. Every bit adds up. Dun snort.

  3. I have done tons of stuff to earn extra money. It all started when I pulled weeds for a quarter when I was like 5 or 6! My favorite way to make extra cash now is sell stuff as I accumulate it during the year.

  4. lol I do many of these right now. I coach beach volleyball, help out a friend with his team building company, work with another friend when she has events at her company, do extra work, blogging…you name it. Somehow, somewhere, all these random skills will come in handy.

    • I think random skills are highly under rated. I probably didn’t think about them too much before I started reading blogs. It’s amazing the amount of things you can get paid for.

  5. I’ve basically done the same thing you have with blogging and rental income. It’s by far our two biggest side incomes. Our dividend income is a very tiny amount right now but I hope to continue to grow that over time until it’s a sizable amount. I plan on starting a second website soon to diversify my online income.

    • Best of luck on the new site. I have no desire to do that, but I bet after running YAM for a while you can make the second one profitable pretty quickly.

  6. I have actually traded services a number of times and one of my best clients is a photographer and I help him with his financial planning and he has taken all of the shots for my websites. We have both saved each other quite a bit of money by doing this.

    • I would probably not have formal pictures, professional or family, if I hadn’t bartered. I actually have some new shots but have not put them on the website yet. I really need to do that.

  7. I’m one of the teachers you’ve mentioned – and I’ve been teaching summer school since we started our journey out of debt in 2012. I’ve been teaching through both July and August, and because we put every penny I earn towards our debt or savings, it really makes a difference. In the old days, if I had taught summer school, there just would have been more of our money evaporating into the ether. Important thing about extra income: Be very intentional about where it goes.

  8. Like the idea of actually having a purpose for the money you make, and not letting it just sit in your checking account. Earmarking any extra money towards your HSA, IRA or debt payment will put it to good use and prevent any type of lifestyle creep from occurring.

  9. If you live in a university district — or in an area with a lot of paid parking — you can rent out your driveway. I heard of people who did this at University of Washington.

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